Thread: Dems discount, Repubs praise
01-30-2005, 05:46 PM #1
Dems discount, Repubs praise
Thank god W got re-elected. Did anyone here that crap that Teddy Kenedy was saying the other day. This is a great day for Democracy.
Democrats cautiously welcome Iraqi elections
WASHINGTON (AFP) - Leading Democratic Party critics of US President George W. Bush (news - web sites)'s Iraq (news - web sites) policy cautiously welcomed the successful staging of elections and distanced themselves from calls for the start of an immediate US troop withdrawal.
Massachusetts Senator John Kerry (news - web sites), who lost the November presidential election against Republican President George W. Bush, described the Iraqi elections as "significant" and "important" but said they should not be "overhyped."
"It is significant that there is a vote in Iraq," Kerry said in an interview with NBC television's Meet the Press. "But ... no one in the United States should try to overhype this election.
"This election is a sort of demarcation point, and what really counts now is the effort to have a legitimate political reconciliation," Kerry said. "And it's going to take a massive diplomatic effort and a much more significant outreach to the international community than this administration has been willing to engage in.
"Absent that, we will not be successful in Iraq," he said.
Kerry also said he did not support fellow Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy's call last week for the immediate pullout of at least 12,000 US troops from Iraq following the elections.
"I wouldn't do a specific timetable, but I certainly agree with (Kennedy) in principle, that the goal must be to withdraw American troops," Kerry said.
Another influential Democrat, Delaware Senator Joseph Biden, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, also rejected Kennedy's call for an immediate withdrawal of some American forces.
"I think pulling American forces out now would be, quite frankly, a serious mistake," Biden said on CBS television's Face the Nation. "I think it's much too premature. I think there would be a collapse, quite frankly, of any sense of order in the country."
Indiana Senator Evan Bayh, whose name has been mentioned as a possible presidential candidate in 2008, described the Iraqi elections as a "great day for democracy" but cautioned that "this is only one step in what is going to be a long and difficult process."
"It's a good day, but we need to see it through to a successful conclusion," Bayh said. "And frankly, I'm concerned, given some of the past mistakes, whether this leadership team will be capable of that."
He said he disagreed with Kennedy's call for the start of a US troop withdrawal from Iraq. "We've planted our flag," Bayh said. "I think that we need to be successful now, and unfortunately that's going to require our presence for some time.
"I think to cut and run at this juncture would be a terrible mistake."
Michigan Senator Carl Levin, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (news - web sites), said, challenges remain.
"I'm afraid there were some areas where the turnout is extremely low, and that's the Sunni Triangle areas or parts thereof," he said. "And that's the challenge that we now face.
"But Iraqis that did turn out in large numbers, at least in some areas and in some places, took their lives in their hands in doing so, and we're very delighted with that," he said.
Levin said it was too early to talk about a troop withdrawal. "I think that is putting the cart a little bit ahead of the horse," he said.
"As important as it is that we finally obtain some kind of an exit strategy, we have to negotiate that with the sovereign government and see whether or not the Iraqis will step up to their own security as well.
"We've got to see whether or not the Iraqi people will put their lives on the line in joining the security forces," Levin said. "There are very few trained Iraqi security forces in Iraq. That is a huge challenge."
Bush Declares Iraq Election a Success
WASHINGTON (AP) - President Bush called Sunday's elections in Iraq a success and promised the United States will continue trying to prepare Iraqis to secure their own country.
"The world is hearing the voice of freedom from the center of the Middle East," Bush told reporters at the White House on Sunday, four hours after the polls closed. He did not take questions after his three-minute statement.
Bush praised the bravery of Iraqis who turned out to vote despite continuing violence and intimidation. Bush said voters "firmly rejected the antidemocratic ideology" of terrorists.
Iraqis defied threats of violence and calls for a boycott to cast ballots in their first free election in a half-century Sunday.
(AP) In this photograph provided by NBC's "Meet The Press," Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., talks about the...
Insurgents struck polling stations with a string of suicide bombings and mortar volleys, killing at least 44 people, including nine suicide bombers.
"Some Iraqis were killed while exercising their rights as citizens," Bush said. He also mourned the loss of American and British troops killed Sunday.
Bush cautioned that the election will not end violence in Iraq, but said U.S. forces will continue training and helping Iraqis "so this rising democracy can eventually take responsibility for its own security."
In a statement Sunday, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass, said Bush "must look beyond the election."
"The best way to demonstrate to the Iraqi people that we have no long-term designs on their country is for the administration to withdraw some troops now" and negotiate further withdrawals, Kennedy added.
Earlier Sunday, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Iraqi will now work to reduce ethnic or sectarian differences, and the United States will discuss the continued need for outside security forces with the newly elected Iraqi government.
"We all recognize the Iraqis have a long road ahead of them," Rice said on CBS'"Face The Nation."
"The insurgency is not going to go away as a result of today," Rice added.
Rice would not say whether U.S. forces will leave the country in great numbers after the vote, and Bush did not mention any U.S. military withdrawals.
So far, more than 1,400 U.S. troops and many thousands of Iraqis have lost their lives. The United States is spending more than $1 billion a week in Iraq.
(AP) In this photograph provided by NBC's "Meet The Press," Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., talks about the...
Rice said the election went better than expected, but did not elaborate on U.S. predictions for turnout, violence or other measures.
In Iraq, officials said turnout among the 14 million eligible voters appeared higher than the 57 percent they had predicted. Complete voting results are not expected for days.
Polls were largely deserted all day in many cities of the Sunni Triangle. In Baghdad's mainly Sunni Arab area of Azamiyah, the neighborhood's four polling centers did not open at all, residents said.
A low Sunni turnout could undermine the new government and worsen tensions among the country's ethnic, religious and cultural groups.
"It is hard to say that something is legitimate when whole portions of the country can't vote and doesn't vote," Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., said on NBC's "Meet The Press."
(AP) In this photo provided by CBS News, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, appears on CBS' "Face the...
The Bush administration has a great deal riding on the election. Strong turnout and results that the world views as legitimate could speed the departure of American troops.
A stable Iraqi government could help mend alliances frayed by international opposition to the U.S.-led invasion, and Republicans on the ballot in 2006 and 2008 also would be relieved. Success could also buttress Bush's long-term goal to promote democracy across the Middle East, where family dynasties and authoritarian rulers outnumber democracies.
Problems with the election could complicate Bush's foreign policy aims, as well as the success of costly items on his second-term domestic agenda, such as partially privatizing Social Security.
Iraq's Shiite majority was widely expected to dominate the government that emerges from Sunday's elections, and some of the highest initial turnout reports came from overwhelmingly Shiite areas.
Even with lower turnout among Sunni Arabs, the government can be representative of all Iraqis, Rice said. She also downplayed concerns that a Shiite-dominated government will morph into a theocracy.
"I'm sure that they will have a healthy debate about the role of Islam, about the role of religion in that society," Rice said on CNN's "Late Edition."
01-30-2005, 05:48 PM #2
Iraqis Brave Bombs to Vote in Their Millions
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Jan 30, 9:12 AM (ET)
By Luke Baker
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Some came on crutches, others walked for miles then struggled to read the ballot, but across Iraq, millions turned out to vote Sunday, defying insurgents who threatened a bloodbath.
Suicide bombs and mortars killed at least 27 people, but voters still came out in force for the first multi-party poll in 50 years. In some places they cheered with joy at their first chance to cast a free vote, in others they shared chocolates.
Even in Falluja, the Sunni city west of Baghdad that was a militant stronghold until a U.S. assault in November, a steady stream of people turned out, confounding expectations. Lines of veiled women clutching their papers waited to vote.
"We want to be like other Iraqis, we don't want to always be in opposition," said Ahmed Jassim, smiling after he voted.
In Baquba, a rebellious city northeast of Baghdad, spirited crowds clapped and cheered at one voting station. In Mosul, scene of some of the worst insurgent attacks in recent months, U.S. and local officials said turnout was surprisingly high.
One of the first to vote was President Ghazi al-Yawar, a Sunni Muslim Arab with a large tribal following, who cast his ballot inside Baghdad's fortress-like Green Zone.
"Thanks be to God," he told reporters, emerging from the booth with his right index finger stained with bright blue ink to show he had voted. "I hope everyone will go out and vote."
In the relatively secure Kurdish north, people flowed steadily to the polls. One illiterate man in Arbil, 76-year-old Said Rasool, came alone and was turned away, unable to read the ballot paper. He said he would return with someone to help.
Even in the so-called "triangle of death," a hotbed of Sunni insurgency south of Baghdad, turnout was solid, officials said.
In mainly Shi'ite Basra, Iraq's second biggest city, hundreds of voters queued patiently at polling centers. "I am not afraid," said Samir Khalil Ibrahim. "This is like a festival for all Iraqis."
A small group cheered in Baghdad as Sharif Ali bin al-Hussein, a descendant of Iraq's last king, went to the polls. Ali leads a constitutional monarchy slate in the election.
Western Baghdad polling stations were busy, with long queues of voters. Most went about the process routinely, filling in their ballots and leaving quickly without much emotion.
Others brought chocolates for those waiting in line, and shared festive juice drinks inside the voting station.
Samir Hassan, 32, who lost his leg in a car bomb blast in October, was determined to vote. "I would have crawled here if I had to. I don't want terrorists to kill other Iraqis like they tried to kill me. Today I am voting for peace," he said, leaning on his metal crutches, determination in his reddened eyes.
In Sadr City, a poor Shi'ite neighborhood of northeast Baghdad, thick lines of voters turned out, women in black abaya robes in one line, men in another.
Some of the first to vote countrywide were policemen, out in force to protect polling centers from attack, part of draconian security measures put in place by U.S. and Iraqi officials.
In Samarra, a restive Sunni-Shi'ite city north of Baghdad, the crackle of gunfire was heard minutes after polls opened.
After a few hours, only about 100 people had voted at one of two polling sites. One woman, covered head-to-toe in black robes, kept her face concealed, but said she voted with pride.
In nearby Baiji, some people were unable to vote because electoral officials failed to turn up. "We are waiting for the manager with the key," said an election worker, apologizing.
"VOTE FOR HUMANITY"
In the shrine city of Najaf in the Shi'ite heartland, hundreds of people walked calmly to polling stations. Security around Najaf, attacked before, was some of the tightest.
"This is a wedding for all Iraqis. I congratulate all Iraqis on their newfound freedom and democracy," said Jaida Hamza, dressed in a black Islamic veil that also hid her face.
Shi'ites, who make up 60 percent of Iraq's people, are expected to win the vote, overturning years of oppression.
In Kirkuk, a city divided between Arabs, Kurds and Turkmen, Kurds turned out in force, as expected, but there were signs Arabs and Turkmen were boycotting, angered by what they see as voting rules that favor Kurds.
One of the biggest surprises was Mosul, a mixed Sunni Arab and Kurd city in the far north. "So far it's gone very well, much better than expected," said a U.S. army officer.
Baghdad's mayor was overcome with emotion by the turnout of voters at City Hall, where he said thousands were celebrating.
"I cannot describe what I am seeing. It is incredible. This is a vote for the future, for the children, for the rule of law, for humanity, for love," Alaa al-Tamimi told Reuters.
01-30-2005, 05:54 PM #3
Great post JD. I couldn't agree with you more. With senators like Ted Kennedy who needs enemies. He has come closer to treason than any other major US politician that I can think of. He is a disgrace regardless which side of the Iraqi war you come down on.
01-30-2005, 06:30 PM #4AR-Hall of Famer / Retired
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Gotta love "Run Away" Kennedy - from Chappaquidick, Vietnam and every war since, at least he is consistent - but couldnt he at least wait till the election is over and then the Iraqi government can ask us to leave, we set a time table and then gear up for Iran - and yee hah...honorable discharge from Iraq, probably over lets say the next 18-24 months to pull the bulk, leaving maybe 20-30K for another year and then having a permanent base near the kurdish area with perhaps 8-10K
01-30-2005, 07:58 PM #5
Ted Kennedy is such a dirtbag. He must have the biggest a$$ in the world to fit that head of his up it. It makes me wonder why states like MA and my own state could elect people like him, Boxer, and Feinstein into office.
01-30-2005, 10:41 PM #6Associate Member
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I think Kerry is such a partisian hack to say not to overhype this. I consider this the most important part of the entire Iraq war to date. In less than one year there has been an afghani election, a palestinian election, and now an Iraqi election. If Dick Cheney were to cure cancer tommorow, the usual-suspects on the left would say not to overhype this and point out the clouds in the sliver lining. The democrats deserved to take it on the chin as badly as they did last election.
01-31-2005, 11:20 AM #7
Every decent human being on the planet should praise the bravery and determination of the Iraqi citizens on this day. There is no greater blow to the terrorists who have chosen death over freedom. Politics can take a backseat today.
01-31-2005, 05:46 PM #8
Good post! Ted Kennedy should meet the same fate as the rest of his clan!
01-31-2005, 06:15 PM #9
CR - You are so right! Kerry had scheduled to be on Meet the Press Sunday morning because he was ssssoooooooooo sure that there would be HUGE problems with the Iraqi elections. When they went off better than nearly everyone expected he just looks petty. Can you imagine - that bozo was 16 electoral votes from being our president.
Originally Posted by carbs-rule
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